'It just keeps coming in': Fort McMurray donations stream in
Christina Commisso, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, May 12, 2016 8:28AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 12, 2016 10:56PM EDT
Donations to the Canadian Red Cross jumped an additional $12 million less than 24 hours after the organization announced emergency funding for Fort McMurray, Alta. evacuees.
Meanwhile, the Alberta government said it had distributed more than $15.7 million in emergency funds to more than 12,000 evacuees as of Thursday.
Canadian Red Cross President and CEO Conrad Sauve said Thursday morning the donation tally for the wildfires relief efforts had hit $79 million.
"It just keeps coming in," Sauve told CTV's Canada AM.
Sauve said the dramatic footage of Fort McMurray evacuees fleeing a community in flames touched Canadians.
"The sentiment is up," he said. "We care for people internationally, we're going to care for our own as well."
On Wednesday, Sauve announced that the organization had received $67 million in donations -- $50 million of which would be redistributed directly to evacuees in the form of emergency funds.
The more than 80,000 Fort McMurray evacuees who have registered with the humanitarian organization will receive $600 per adult and $300 per child to help cover the cost of immediate needs, such as food, clothing and shelter.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley also announced on Wednesday that pre-loaded debit cards with $1,250 for adults and $500 for children will be available for evacuees.
Long lineups formed outside debit card distribution centres shortly after Notley announced the provincial funding.
"People left with nothing," Sauve said. "There are needs, and (evacuees) know what those needs are best."
He said the best way to help evacuees at the moment is with direct financial assistance.
Sauve described the outpouring of support for evacuees coming from throughout the country as a "tremendous Canadian moment."